- American Federation of Teachers
- Center for Popular Democracy
- CREDO Action
- Justice Democrats
- National Employment Law Project
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- People’s Parity Project
- Revolving Door Project
Support and Reaction
American Federation of Teachers: “We support this important call to restore balance to our federal judiciary. The scales of justice require fidelity to the rule of law and fairness, but our courts have tipped too far in favor of corporations, rather than the everyday experiences of working people. The next president must nominate a new kind of judge to level the playing field. This means placing a priority on lawyers who have represented individuals — labor lawyers, public interest lawyers, and plaintiff’s lawyers. It’s time to fight for judges who have spent their careers fighting for everyday Americans.”
SEIU General Counsel Nicole Berner: “Federal courts must be the guardians of democracy and the rights of all people. The judicial branch has increasingly become a tool of corporations and the super rich to wield power and to protect their interests, to pit people against each other on the basis of race and religion, and to weaken working people’s ability to join together in unions to fight for a better life. The next President must return the courts to the people by nominating judges whose professional experience and expertise demonstrate a commitment to working people and their communities.”
National Education Association General Counsel Alice O’Brien: “For too long, our federal courts have been dominated by judges who have devoted their legal careers to fighting for corporate special interests. That has skewed our courts, making them more receptive to corporate interests than to those of working Americans and their families. The next president must make it a priority to rebalance the courts by appointing judges who have dedicated their lives to representing the public interest and working people.”
American Association for Justice: “Individuals and families seeking justice in our nation’s courtrooms face overwhelming odds when up against large and powerful corporations. This is why AAJ recognizes that selecting judicial nominees with experience and expertise in representing individuals is of paramount importance in order to restore fairness and transparency to the federal judiciary. It is time for the next president to nominate attorneys who have fought to enforce the rights and protections of people, not corporations. It is time to restore balance to the judiciary by selecting nominees who have demonstrated, through trial experience, community service, civic engagement, academic contributions or legislative efforts, a commitment to respecting and empowering an individual’s civil and human rights as well as the ability to access the courts in order to enforce those rights.”
Demos President Sabeel Rahman: “Courts play a major role in shaping our economy and our society. But too often Presidents of both parties have stocked our judiciary with lawyers who’ve earned millions protecting corporate interests, exacerbating our inequality crisis and often to the detriment of communities of color. Just like big money dominance of our elections and unequal access to the ballot, pro-corporate bias in our courts is an urgent challenge for democracy, economic justice, and racial equity. We need a judiciary that is reflective of the range of communities and lived realities that our court system shapes on a daily basis. It’s time for bold action that will tap into the vast and diverse pool of public defenders, public interest advocates, community lawyers, grassroots leaders and others who will make brilliant jurists and bring a wider balance of viewpoints and life experiences to the federal bench.”
Indivisible Director of Democracy Policy Meagan Hatcher-Mays: “Under Chief Justice John Roberts, himself a former corporate lawyer, the Supreme Court has become an institution that works in service of big business and in opposition to democracy. This problem isn’t limited to the highest court in the land — Trump has stacked the rest of the federal bench with corporate lawyers, too. Their pro-corporate bias is clear: corporations keep winning while the people, and our democracy, keep losing.
That’s why the next Democratic president must refuse to nominate any more corporate lawyers to the federal bench. Nothing short of the fate of our democracy is at stake. No doubt the next Democratic president will pursue an aggressive agenda aimed at major, structural democracy reforms. But that entire agenda will end up in the courts. We need judges who understand that democracy is about people power — not unlimited corporate power.”
Center for Popular Democracy Senior Director of Mobilization & Advocacy Jennifer Flynn Walker: “Power and resources in our country continue to be concentrated at the top. And the systematic appointment of corporate lawyers for the federal bench has institutionalized corporate interests over public good, helping to cement a system that keeps economic justice out of reach. We have exposed the way that those at the top stockpile wealth and resources, and this is another example of that! We, the people, stand united in creating a new economy that works for us all. And this call to action is another part of that journey. Removing corporate interests from and restoring balance back to our federal benches lays the foundation for the big structural changes we need — from voting rights and climate justice to immigration reform and justice transformation!”
Justice Democrats: “A vital campaign to transform our democracy.”
A vital campaign to transform our democracy: "Democrats ought to nominate judges whose day jobs involve working for ordinary Americans. That means, for example, choosing lawyers who represent workers, consumers, or civil-rights plaintiffs." https://t.co/YfEo4QV5tv
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) August 23, 2019
Jeffrey Toobin: “The moment is especially ripe for this proposal. The story of the Roberts Court is its embrace of corporate power,” wrote Toobin. “Kang and Fallon are speaking directly to the Presidential candidates, who would be wise to answer, if not to agree.”
Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser: “Not only is it true that “personnel is policy,” personal history makes up much of who potential personnel are. We need empathetic do-gooders on federal bench, rather than judges comfortable maintaining the pro-corporate legal doctrines of past 45 years.”
Very important take ↘️. Not only is it true that "personnel is policy," personal history makes up much of who potential personnel are.
We need empathetic do-gooders on federal bench, rather than judges comfortable maintaining the pro-corporate legal doctrines of past 45 years. https://t.co/iQ6LSrz4PA
— Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) August 21, 2019
Ian Bassin, founder of Protect Democracy:“Hugely important and spot on. It’s not that all corporate lawyers are somehow bad or unqualified, it’s that the bench has tons of them and needs more balance. All candidates should adopt this pledge: they won’t nominate more corporate lawyers to the bench.”
Hugely important and spot on. It’s not that all corporate lawyers are somehow bad or unqualified, it’s that the bench has tons of them and needs more balance. All candidates should adopt this pledge: they won’t nominate more corporate lawyers to the bench. https://t.co/mTLeeUDl85
— Ian Bassin (@ianbassin) August 21, 2019
Adam Green, Co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee: “Bravo. Supreme Court will be a 2020 issue. And the corporate takeover of the bench — which impacts everything from health care to taxes to workplace protections to equal pay — must be high on the list of issues presidential candidates address. This moves convo in good direction!”
Bravo. Supreme Court will be a 2020 issue. And the corporate takeover of the bench — which impacts everything from health care to taxes to workplace protections to equal pay — must be high on the list of issues presidential candidates address. This moves convo in good direction! https://t.co/BUri2wODFr
— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) August 21, 2019
CREDO Action Co-director Heidi Hess: “Corporate attorneys have taken over the federal bench and it is up to the next Democratic president to stop them. We call on the next Democratic president to commit to nominating lawyers who understand how the law works from the point of view of women, workers, immigrants, and communities of color — not more lawyers who have spent their careers and made their fortunes defending corporate interests. In order to fight the corporate capture of our courts, Democrats must put forward judicial nominees with a greater diversity of experiences who feel accountable to the communities they became lawyers to serve.”
National Employment Law Project: “There simply cannot be justice while the federal judiciary is stacked with corporate lawyers!”
"The federal bench is already filled with enough corporate lawyers, and… the law is being skewed in favor of corporations, giving them astonishing power."
There simply cannot be justice while the federal judiciary is stacked with corporate lawyers! https://t.co/aFfy4Ee6fI
— NELP (@NelpNews) August 22, 2019
Todd Tucker, Director of Governance Studies, Roosevelt Institute: “This is a great idea. A first step in walking back the extreme pro-corporate views of the Roberts Court is to stop nominating corporate lawyers to the bench.”
This is a great idea from @brianefallon and @cdkang76 of @WeDemandJustice.
A first step in walking back the extreme pro-corporate views of the Roberts Court is to stop nominating corporate lawyers to the bench. https://t.co/ubspRHxS5c
— Todd N. Tucker (@toddntucker) August 22, 2019
“I’ve argued for years that corporate capture of the federal courts is a serious problem,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren in a tweet linking to the essay. “It’s getting worse. The next president must address it—and that starts by committing to dramatically increase the professional diversity of the federal bench.”
I've argued for years that corporate capture of the federal courts is a serious problem. It's getting worse. The next president must address it—and that starts by committing to dramatically increase the professional diversity of the federal bench. https://t.co/OUvH0xOvVZ
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 21, 2019
Responding to the call that we don’t need any more corporate lawyers on the federal bench, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wrote, “True” in a tweet and highlighted his successful recommendation of a career plaintiff’s lawyer for the federal bench in Rhode Island.
True. One strike Republicans listed against our Judge Jack McConnell was that he wasn’t a corporate lawyer (he represented actual people instead); the @USChamber worked overtime to stop him. With support from our Greater @Provchamber, he was confirmed and is now doing a fine job. https://t.co/KF7d6VVYDq
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) August 22, 2019
In announcing his support for a more professionally diverse judiciary, former Senator Tom Harkin said, “I believe candidates running for president ought to be forthright in telling us the kind of judges they want to put on the federal courts. It’s time that we have judges who are people’s judges––lawyers who have represented workers, consumers, the environment, things like that––and not just corporate lawyers. We have to let young people who are in law school and just getting out of law school know that they don’t have to become a corporate lawyer if they want to be a judge. They can be an environmental lawyer, they can be a labor lawyer, they can be a public defender, they can be a legal services lawyer, and that is a pathway to being a judge.”
65% of Democratic Voters Say They Agree The Next Democratic President Should Stop Nominating Any More Corporate Lawyers. Only 6% Disagree.